Springwood swimmer Matt Wilson has drawn inspiration from two swimmers’ gold medal-winning performances at the Rio Olympics as he prepares for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii this week.
The 17-year-old will compete in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, as well as a few relays, subject to the head coach’s decision.
He described 21-year-old Adam Peaty from Great Britain’s world-record-breaking 100m breaststroke gold medal Olympic win as “inspiring”.
“He has progressed over the years into an amazing breaststroker,” Wilson said.
“And my good mate Kyle Chalmers, who won gold in the 100 freestyle, is proof that with hard work, determination and with the right people behind you supporting you, anything is possible.”
I will certainly be giving it 100 per cent and focusing on my own race plan and the processes involved rather than going into the race expecting a certain result.Matt Wilson
Wilson narrowly missed qualifying for the Rio Olympics in the 200m breaststroke at the Australian Swimming Championships in April.
He swam a blistering 2.09.90, a personal best and the fifth fastest in the world this year, but just 0.26 seconds shy of qualification.
He’s hoping for a podium finish at the junior championships, but says “anything can happen on the day.”
“I will certainly be giving it 100 per cent and focusing on my own race plan and the processes involved rather than going into the race expecting a certain result,” Wilson said.
To prepare, he’s had three weeks training in the USA at the University of Minnesota, then in California at the Fremont Hills Country Club.
Initially he struggled with jet lag, but then settled into training, and now he’s in Hawaii with the 30-strong Australian team preparing for the championships which kick-off on Wednesday.
“I am excited to be representing Australia again in what will be my last junior event. I'm feeling good, so I hope to swim well,” Wilson said.
“The Japanese are exceptional breaststrokers as well as the USA and China, but anything can happen in these international meets.
“Sometimes there are surprises from the lesser known countries. You just never know what might happen.”
Wilson will be competing against the cream of the crop from the USA, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and other Pacific Rim teams.